Date of Award

Fall 11-21-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS)



Committee Chair

Yvonne Eaves

First Committee Member

Nancy Ballard

Second Committee Member

Jane Brannen

Third Committee Member

Linda Johnston


For years, stakeholders in nursing have anticipated the retirement of the baby-boomer nursing workforce while heralding it as a major factor in a persistent global nursing shortage (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2017). Nursing shortages, known to have a negative impact on patient safety and outcomes, call for strategies to alleviate, if not resolve, issues of retention (Aiken et al., 2017). Authentic leadership, an identified retention factor among professional nurses and associated with improved patient outcomes, has the potential to provide the theoretical support needed to better inform millennial nursing leadership training and development. This phenomenological study explored the perceptions and experiences of leadership among millennial nursing students in their final baccalaureate semester prior to graduation. After a detailed description of the perceptions and experiences of leadership among the selected sample of millennial novice nurses was discovered, associations with Authentic Leadership Theory were sought. The significant findings of this study include themes and their associated sub-themes among the millennial perspectives focused on relational aspects of leadership, role expectations of nurse leaders held by millennial nursing students, and the primary needs of the novice nurse as a team member. These perspectives were then compared to the constructs of ALT. The findings from this study have the potential to inform the development of leadership education and training materials that resonate with the needs of millennial nursing students and novice nurses and support retention strategies for the future.